Avocado is a plant of the Laurel family. Avocados originated from southern Mexico but is grown from the Rio Grande to central Peru, since before the arrival of Europeans. It is known that even 8000 years the Mayans and Aztecs used it. The name comes from the Nahuatal language and literally means testicles due to the similarity of these fruits to that part of our anatomy.
Avocado was brought to Europe in the 17th century by the Spaniards. Today, its biggest manufacturers are considered Brazil, Colombia, USA, Indonesia and Mexico.
Familiar types of avocados are: Guatemalan, Mexican and West Indian. Hybrid forms exist in all three species. Despite significant fluctuations, avocado is considered a fruit, not a vegetable.
Avocados grow well in areas with a mild climate. West Indian varieties thrive in humid, tropical climates and freeze at 0 degrees. Guatemalan types are used to grow in a cool, high altitude and have endurance at up to -2 degrees. Mexican types are used to grow on dry subtropical plateaus and thrive in a Mediterranean climate. They are tough and can survive down to -5 degrees.
Avocados need protection against strong winds, which can easily break the branches of a fruit tree. Avocado trees can not survive in soil with poor drainage system. The trees grow well on slopes of a hill and should never be planted in the bed of a stream. They are tolerant of acid or alkaline soil. The time for harvesting the crop depends on the variety avocados. Commercial standards require the fruits to reach 8% oil content before harvest.
Mexican types ripen 6 to 8 months from flowering, while Guatemalan types usually take 12 to 18 months. He fruits may continue to grow, even after their maturation. The purple species must reach their full color before they are picked.
Guatemalan species can be kept fresh at 15 to 20 degrees for up to six weeks. Mexican types discolor quickly and require immediate consumption.
Avocado is a thick evergreen tree that produces many leaves in early spring. It is rapidly developing and can reach 13 meters in height. Transplanted plants usually bear fruit within one to two years from the required 8 to 20 years for the production of seedlings.
The flowers of an avocado appear in January-March and their clusters contain from 200 to 300 small yellow-green flowers. Each inflorescence produces only one to three parts. West Indian type avocados produce enormous, smooth, round, glossy, green fruits that are low in oil and weigh up to 2 kg. The Guatemalan type of fruit is midsized, ovoid or pear-shaped, with rough skin and reaches blackish-green color when ripe. The fruits of Mexican varieties are small, with thin skins and become glossy green or black when ripe.
The inside of the avocado is green near the skin, yellowish inside, with a near inedible ovoid seed. Avocado is hard when you just harvested it, but eventually softens and develops an oily texture. Avocados are not subjected to heat treatment, as it starts to burn.
Composition of avocados
The biochemical composition of avocado resembles more nuts than fruits. Avocado provides the body with protein in an amount that could easily replace meat and cheese in a daily meal.
Selection and storage of avocados
You'll know a ripe avocado, by it being a deep green color. The skin is shiny, free of cracks, black spots and dry patches. Unripe avocados can be placed in a basket, to ripen at room temperature for about a week. When avocado matures, the skin begins to gradually darken. Green avocados should not be refrigerated. Ripe avocados can be stored in the refrigerator or up to two weeks. It is best to store it with its peel. To avoid browning, sprinkle lemon juice on top of it. Even when brown, do not worry, because it is still edible. If you do not like it, just cut the brown part out with a knife. Pre- cut avocado can also be placed in a plastic bag and kept in the fridge.
If you want to freeze avocados, you should mash them. Halve it, remove the pits and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Mash it well and split into ice trays. Once frozen, remove from the trays and store in the freezer in a plastic bag. You can keep the avocados for up to three months.
Culinary uses of avocados
Before you enjoy the taste of avocados, you know that avocados are consumed only raw. If they undergo thermal treatment, their taste becomes.
Fresh avocado is delicious in purees, sandwiches and as a garnish for fish. Avocado can be consumed with nuts and vegetables. Mashed avocado is a component of the famous Guacamole sauce. A salad with chicken or shrimp with sliced avocado is a delicious and exotic temptation. Avocado combines perfectly with toasted bread and vegetable dumplings. Avocado is a component of many exotic salads, green salads or simple salad with tomatoes and oregano.
Benefits of Avocados
The oil content in avocados is second only to olives, and sometimes even higher. The biochemical composition of avocado provides sufficient protein to completely replace meat and cheese in your daily diet.
Clinical studies have shown that avocado oil can reduce blood cholesterol. Seeds and extracts from the leaves of avocados are used with different medical purposes, including treatment of diarrhea, dysentery and as an antibiotic.
Avocado is used in the treatment of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart, eye, kidney, liver and biliary diseases, ulcers, gastritis, and anemia. It boosts the metabolism and works against tumors and cancer, helping the immune system. Has a positive effect on the nervous system and our psyche. It is helpful to women, by regulating their menstrual cycle. Put in a nutshell - the tropical fruit is a 'remedy' for almost all diseases.
Since avocado is high in antioxidants and minerals, it becomes a miracle fruit that besides offering health benefits, increases stamina and prolongs youth.